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A study from Charles Darwin University (CDU) aims to find out what affects parental decisions on giving their children antibiotics.

The study, which will provide insights into parent-related attitudes, beliefs and decisions as well as relevant social and contextual factors that might influence parents’ decisions about using antibiotics.

The researchers plan to gather qualitative data across Alice Springs, Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory.

According to one of the study leads Stephanie Marsh, establishing a general understanding about parental attitudes will be key.

“Through the study, we hope to get a baseline of parental attitudes about child antibiotic use, what they think about the benefits, concerns parents may have and what impacts their decisions, Ms Marsh said.

“In Australia, there is currently limited research exploring attitudes and beliefs, social and contextual factors that might contribute to antibiotic use amongst parents with children living in rural or remote locations.”

Ms Marsh said that it was important to understand the contextual factors that influence parental decisions on antibiotics in regional settings.

“Parents from remote and rural areas with limited access to healthcare professionals might be influenced more by the advice from people around them,” Ms Marsh said.

“Through our research, we want to understand parental antibiotic use with their children and what drives decisions and practices.”

“This information from parents provides valuable insight and findings could inform follow-up studies or might provide guidance for future health initiatives on how to enhance the use of antibiotics.”

Australian children under the age of nine use antibiotics around three times as much as their Norwegian and Dutch counterparts, while the Australian Commission on  Safety and Quality in Healthcare state that the elderly and children aged zero to nine years of age are both the highest users of antibiotics across age demographics.

The CDU suggest that there may be up to approximately 10 million deaths per year from antimicrobial resistance.